Mario Superstar Baseball (JP) is a Mario sport title for the Nintendo GameCube and is the first installment of the Mario Baseball series, being the first dedicated baseball game in the Mario franchise. As with most Mario Sports titles, it has traditional rules of the sport, but with special, Mario-themed quirks and mechanics to differentiate itself from the real sport. This includes characters using Star Skill abilities to cause the ball behavior to behave differently; team captain's Star Skill abilities are unique and cause a wide variety of special effects such as attacking outfielders if batting and causing the pitched ball to behave erratically. Characters also have field abilities to differentiate themselves from other teammates. Chemistry is a feature unique to the Mario Baseball games where players perform differently whether they are neutral, like, or dislike another character they are cooperating with. Additionally, most fields in the game have stage hazards that can affect outfielders such as the Piranha Plants serving as obstacles in Yoshi Park.
Aside from the main Exhibition mode, where players can play baseball freely with up to two players, players can participate in a single-player oriented Challenge mode that has them playing as a designated team captain and their preset team and recruiting other captains and team players to face off against Bowser. This game also introduces the Toy Field mode where individual characters play on an interactive baseball field and get coins based on where the ball lands. Finally, players can play in Mario-themed minigames that have baseball mechanics, such as hitting Bob-ombs to create fireworks or collecting gems in the baseball diamond while avoiding a Chain Chomp. Toy Field and Minigames mode are the only modes that can support up to four players. At the time, this game featured the most playable Mario characters ever in a game (with its sequel beating it by nine), and is also the first Mario game that Namco has ever fully developed on any platform.
The game features over thirty characters as they play baseball through many diffrent courses. It also features many modes, and mini-games. A sequel called Mario Super Sluggers was released for the Wii three years later.
The game's opening begins with Mario and Luigi playing catch. The two then see a wanted poster featuring Bowser on it float from the sky. Elsewhere, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, and Wario all receive the same posters, and decide to get to playing baseball.
In the match between Peach and Yoshi's teams, Peach gets a good swing on a pitch, and as Yoshi runs to make the catch, it bounces off a Note Block and becomes a home run, much to Yoshi's disappointment. Next, in the game between Wario and Donkey Kong's teams, Donkey Kong uses his climbing abilities to catch the ball, but is bitten by a Chain Chomp and forced to drop it. Shortly after, Diddy Kong successfully bunts, and Wario desperately tries to blow the ball into foul range, but to no avail—Lakitu calls a fair ball, leaving Wario to slam his fist into the ground in frustration.
Finally, in the big game between Mario and Wario's teams, Mario is running for home base, but Donkey Kong is on the verge of catching the ball as Peach, Daisy and Toad look away. Mario then bounds over Donkey Kong and reaches home base safely as Donkey Kong is hit in the face with the ball. Later on, after the teams have changed sides, Wario slams Mario's pitch into the stands for an easy home run; as he and Waluigi celebrate to the visible dismay of Mario's, Donkey Kong becomes excited and accidentally pounds Wario into the ground, causing Waluigi to laugh.
Still later in the game, Daisy is seen throwing the ball to Peach, who then throws to Yoshi as Waluigi slides hard towards the base—only to discover Yoshi already has the ball, causing him to fall short as Lakitu declares him out. During Donkey Kong's at-bat, he punches the ball, and Luigi runs after it as it makes a beeline for the bleachers; he manages to jump off the top of the wall and catch it for a second out. Wario is the next batter up, and points his bat at Mario. Mario winds up and throws a fastball that catches fire and passes Wario before he can swing, striking him out; its speed overloads a radar gun in the process. With all three outs, the teams change sides.
With two outs and the game on the line, Mario is up to bat; as he faces down Wario, he points his bat at the stands in an homage to Babe Ruth's called shot. Wario then lets loose a pitch that Mario manages to hit as everyone watches in awe—the ball sails directly into the stands where Mario pointed, scoring a game-winning home run for him and his team. Peach, Luigi and the others celebrate their victory with Mario as he reaches home base; as they do, Bowser is shown in the audience, chuckling to himself.
Challenge Mode ending
The game's ending plays when Bowser's team is finally beaten in Challenge Mode. It begins with Mario entering a park at night, with Luigi, Princess Peach, Red Toad, and Diddy Kong excited over his arrival. Then Bowser confidently arrives for a rematch, with characters such as Wario and Waluigi as his teammates. After everyone gets to their positions, all prepared for the re-match, Mario makes the pitch. As the ball is thrown, the camera zooms in the ball, revealing the hidden words on it, "WE LOVE BASEBALL!", then the credits roll.
Team Chemistry is a fun little addition to Mario Baseball. Each character has a special connection with another player, and if he's tossing or batting from a player that he's friends with, then his shot will be much better. For example, Mario's compatible with Luigi, Princess Peach, and Yoshi, if he's throwing to one of them, the throw and catch will be much better than with someone else.
List of Character's Chemistry
- Mario - Luigi, Peach, Yoshi
- Luigi - Daisy, Mario, Peach
- Princess Peach - Daisy, Luigi, Mario, Toad, Toadette, Toadsworth
- Yoshi - Mario, Baby Mario, Baby Luigi, Birdo
- Bowser - Bowser Jr., Koopa Troopa, Koopa Paratroopa, Hammer Bro, Dry Bones
- Donkey Kong - Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong, Petey Piranha
- Diddy Kong - Dixie Kong, Donkey Kong, Goomba
- Wario - Waluigi, Boo
- Waluigi - Wario, Magikoopa
- Toad - Peach, Toadette, Toadsworth
- Princess Daisy - Luigi, Peach
- Baby Mario - Yoshi, Baby Luigi
- Baby Luigi - Yoshi, Baby Mario
- Birdo - Yoshi, Shy Guy, Petey Piranha
- Bowser Jr. - Bowser, Hammer Bro, Magikoopa
- Dixie Kong - Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong
- King Boo - Boo, Petey Piranha
- Petey Piranha - Birdo, Donkey Kong, King Boo
- Toadette - Peach, Toad, Toadsworth
- Toadsworth - Peach, Toad, Toadette
- Shy Guy - Birdo, Monty Mole
- Noki - Pianta
- Pianta - Noki
- Koopa Troopa - Bowser, Dry Bones, Paratroopa
- Goomba - Diddy Kong, Paragoomba, Monty Mole
- Dry Bones - Bowser, Koopa Troopa
- Boo - King Boo, Magikoopa, Wario
- Magikoopa - Boo, Waluigi, Bowser Jr.
- Koopa Paratroopa - Bowser, Koopa Troopa, Paragoomba
- Monty Mole - Goomba, Paragoomba, Shy Guy
- Hammer Bro - Bowser, Bowser Jr.
- Paragoomba - Goomba, Paratroopa, Monty Mole
In the main, and multiplayer mode, there is a selected name for each team depending on which character you choose as the team captain, the following is a list of all the teams that are in both the single and multiplayer mode.
- Mario - Mario Heroes, Mario Fireballs, Mario Sunshines (reference to Super Mario Sunshine), Mario All-Stars (reference to Super Mario All-Stars)
- Luigi - Luigi Gentlemen, Luigi Vacuums (reference to Luigi's Mansion), Luigi Mansioneers (reference to Luigi's Mansion), Luigi Leapers (reference to the fact that Luigi is known for his high jumping qualities)
- Peach - Peach Roses, Peach Dynasties, Peach Monarchs, Peach Princess
- Daisy - Daisy Lillies, Daisy Cupids, Daisy Queen Bees, Daisy Petals
- Yoshi - Yoshi Eggs (reference to the actual Yoshi Eggs), Yoshi Speed Stars, Yoshi Islanders (reference to Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island), Yoshi Flutters (reference to Yoshi's flutter jump)
- Birdo - Birdo Beauties, Birdo Models, Birdo Bows, Birdo Fans
- Wario - Wario Garlics (reference to the fact that Wario loves garlic), Wario Steakheads, Wario Greats, Wario Beasts
- Waluigi - Waluigi Smart-Alecks, Waluigi Mystiques, Waluigi Flankers, Waluigi Mashers
- Donkey Kong - DK Explorers, DK Wild Ones, DK Kongs, DK Animals
- Diddy Kong - Diddy Survivors, Diddy Ninjas, Diddy Tails, Diddy Red Caps
- Bowser - Bowser Flames (reference to the fact that Bowser can breathe fire), Bowser Blue Shells, Bowser Monsters, Bowser Blackstars
- Bowser Jr. - Jr. Fangs, Jr. Bombers, Jr. Pixies, Jr. Rookies
Note that Toad, Pianta, Noki, Koopa Troopa, Dry Bones, Magikoopa, Paratroopa, and Shy Guy are all available in different colors, which give them slightly different abilities. Hammer Bro (using a hammer as a bat) not only changes color, but you can turn him into either Fire Bro (wooden bat with fire painted on it) or Boomerang Bro (boomerang bat).
- Nice Bat - 100 to 200 coins
- Power Bat - 100 to 200 coins
- Super Ball - 100 to 200 coins
- Lucky Glove - 100 to 200 coins
- Dash Spikes - 100 to 200 coins
- Buddy Emblem - 100 to 200 coins
- Superstar - 600 to 900 coins
- Red Fireball - 200 coins
- Green Fireball - 200 coins
- Lovely Heart - 200 coins
- Pretty Flower - 200 coins
- Gnarly Garlic - 200 coins
- Whiskered Eggplant - 200 coins
- Yoshi Egg - 200 coins
- Birdo Egg - 200 coins
- King Banana - 200 coins
- Chimp Banana - 200 coins
- Bullet Bill - 200 coins
- Jr. Mask - 200 coins
- Secret Map - 500 coins
- Mario Stadium - Easiest field, no hazards, for beginners, or players who want to play a regular game.
- Peach Garden - ? Blocks, Hedges.
- Wario Palace - Tornado, Chain Chomps.
- Yoshi Park - Piranha Plants
- Donkey Kong Jungle - Klap Traps, Barrels
- Bowser Castle - Lava Pits, Fireballs, Thwomps.
- Bob-omb Derby
- Wall Ball
- Chain Chomp Sprint
- Piranha Panic
- Barrel Batter
- Star Dash
Overall, Mario Superstar Baseball was well received by critics, gaining 8.0 out of 10 from GameSpot. A GameDaily reviewer praised the game, as telling that he "found it to grow on him". IGN praised the game, but also said that "these high production values are not consistent throughout the experience".
Pre-release and unused content
Mario Superstar Baseball was originally known as only Mario Baseball and had a different logo from the final one and the star chances were not the same as they were in the final game as well.
References to other games
- Super Mario Bros. - The loading screen can show an 8-bit Mario hitting a ? Block or an 8-bit Mario being created and walking to the right. Also, a cover version of the overworld can be heard in Peach Garden.
- Mario Kart: Double Dash!! - Some of the voice clips are reused from this game.
References to later games
- Itadaki Street DS - Mario Stadium is a map in this game.
- Mario Super Sluggers - This installment for the Wii console is the follow-up to Mario Superstar Baseball; the gameplay mechanics are based off of this game.
- Despite every other character in the video game speaking, Mario is the only one that doesn't, even when talked to, his word balloon is completely blank. This is possibly because Mario is a typical silent protagonist, and never has spoken an in game conversation other than speaking in an unexplainable language in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time and saying Luigi's and Peach's names in a few games.
- King Bob-omb makes an appearance as one of the Bob-ombs in the mini game Bob-omb Derby.